Toyota is bringing a roadster made almost entirely by wood at the Milan Design Week from April 12 to 17.
This weird-looking creation is called the Setsuna and “conceived to embody the affection owners develop for their cars over time and the central role they can play in family life”.
Toyota collaborated mainly with Sumitomo Forestry, which provided their valuable expertise in wood construction and was involved early in the development process of the Setsuna, also helping in which types of wood should be used.
“While we used wood as the main material, we also poured lots of time and passion into the car itself with our colleagues, creating a prototype and evaluating it so that the car would offer basic performance in the form of driving feel and comfort,” said Kenji Tsuji, the engineer responsible for Setsuna. “By displaying Setsuna, which was created with these hopes in mind, and receiving a wide range of opinions, we believe that we can further improve this concept.”
The body is made up out of 86 handmade panels that will change in appearance as the car grows older. Toyota claims they used traditional Japanese techniques to construct the Setsuna, including okuriari, which allows the panels to be fitted without the use of nails. The joints in the car’s frame feature split tenons fastened to through-tenons that pass through several component parts in the frame to give a secure hold.
Toyota used aluminum for details like the wheel caps, steering wheel and seat frames creating the necessary visual contrast with the wooden structure.
The car’s shape is expected to change as time passes by, as all the wooden elements on it will slowly bend, giving the body even more curves. Toyota has even fitted the Setsuna with a clock that counts not only hours and minutes but years, too, as a reminder of its special status.